Phillies-Dodgers Observations: Aaron Altherr's Grand Slam Stuns Clayton Kershaw in Win


A struggling rookie pitcher against the best team in the majors and arguably the best starter in the game …
On paper, this was not a good matchup for the Phillies.
But on the field, the Phillies managed to pull off a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers and their ace, Clayton Kershaw, Monday night.
Aaron Altherr accounted for all of the Phillies' runs with a grand slam against Kershaw in the sixth.
The Dodgers still own the majors' best record at 96-54. They entered the night with a magic number of four for clinching the NL West title.
• Good job by rookie Nick Pivetta, the Phillies' starter. The night did not get off to a good start for the right-hander as he gave up a pair of homers - one was an inside-the-parker - to the first two batters of the game. But those were the only runs that Pivetta gave up over six innings. His resilience and ability to keep his team in the game are a big reason the Phillies won. Pivetta (6-10) walked two and struck out eight. He had allowed 13 runs over 10 innings in his previous two starts.
• Kershaw entered the game with a majors-best 2.12 ERA. He had been 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA on the road.
• Entering the game, five players in the Phillies' young lineup had never had an at-bat against Kershaw. Altherr was one of them. But a hanging slider is a hanging slider, even from a three-time Cy Young Award winner. Altherr got one with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning and sent into the upper deck to turn a 2-0 Phillies' deficit into a 4-2 lead.
• Both starting third basemen, Justin Turner and Maikel Franco, made superb defensive plays. J.P. Crawford moved from second to third and made a sweet barehanded play to end the top of the eighth.
• The Phillies got good work from their bullpen even though Hector Neris allowed a home run to make it a one-run game in the ninth. Neris has been tormented by the Dodgers this season. Back on April 29, he gave up three ninth-inning homers in a 6-5 loss at Dodger Stadium.
• Rhys Hoskins bounced back nicely from an 0-for-11 weekend and reached base twice against Kershaw with a single and a walk. He drew a two-out walk to load the bases and extend the inning for Altherr in the bottom of the sixth.
• Chase Utley started at second base for the Dodgers and struck out in both of his at-bats (see story).
• The Phillies face some tough pitching in this series. They will go against Yu Darvish (9-12, 4.08) on Tuesday night and All-Star lefty Alex Wood (15-3, 2.69) on Wednesday night. The Phillies will counter with Aaron Nola (11-10, 3.60) on Tuesday night and Jake Thompson (2-2, 4.46) on Wednesday night. The series concludes Thursday afternoon with Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.21) squaring off against Mark Leiter Jr. (3-6, 4.93).

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